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Manuka UMF® Honey Research

Honey in History

Recent research has re-discovered the use of Honey to help support the natural immune defences. Interestingly, honey was one of the most used natural defence support in ancient Egypt. Of nine hundred remedies recorded, over 500 were honey based. It was often used by the Egyptians and Greeks for the preservation of meat. The Assyrians, Chinese and Romans also used honey for open wounds and stomach problems, coughs (honey and vinegar), and for thirst and light fevers they used a mixture of water and honey. It has been said that honey was found to be perfectly tolerated, even in very large doses as it contains a series of nutritive elements. It has an important stimulant action overall and has a light appetite-stimulating effect and facilitates assimilation and digestion of other foods. It also may have laxative, sedative, anti-toxic, anti-septic, anti-anemic, fever-reducing and emollient properties."
 

Current Research

Today, exciting results are being achieved and recorded in the science field and in doctors consulting rooms since confidence and interest was stirred by experiments done at Waikato University. They are essentially the re-discovery with scientific back-up of what has been known for many years. Dr Molan of the University of Waikato says that several reports in medical journals in the 1930's stated that honey had been effective in clearing wounds of bacterial infection, and that it had been established in laboratory work in 1919 that honey has anti-bacterial activity. But by the mid-1940's with other studies becoming available honey was displaced from use in medicine.
 
Dr Molan's recent research has revived what has been known for many years and knowledge has increased. He states that all honeys have anti-bacterial properties and will stop the growth of bacteria because of its high sugar content along with their varying quantities of Hydrogen Peroxide generated by the glucose oxidase enzyme in the honey. But the studies have shown that some Manuka honeys have another property, which continues to work after the hydrogen peroxide was removed. Of the 26 honeys tested, the additional anti-bacterial activity was quite high in some samples of Manuka honey now known as  Manuka UMF® Honey. Further tests are summarised here. The percentage nine (by volume) of each type of honey needed to prevent completely the growth of each species of bacteria was found to be as follows:
 
 
Manuka Honey
  Other Honey
Escherichia coli
3.7
7.1
Proteus mirabilis
7.3
3.3
Pseudomonas aeruginosa
10.8
6.8
Salmonella typhimurium
6.0
4.1
Serratia marcescens
6.3
4.7
Staphylococcus aureus
1.8
4.9
Streptococcus pyogenes
3.6
2.6
 
Dr Molan concludes: "Although some species are more sensitive to the action of one type of honey than they are to another, on average there is little difference. The most notable point is that these 'average' honeys can be diluted nearly tenfold yet still completely halt the growth of all the major wound-infecting species of bacteria. Also notable is the finding that an "average" manuka honey will still halt Staphylococcus aureus when diluted with 54 times its volume of fluid. This bacteria is one of the most common wound-infecting species, and is notorious for developing resistance to antibiotics."

To find out more about UMF®, visit The UMF® Honey Association website: www.umf.org.nz

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